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A/n: Art above done by ArlYTen.

(Y/n) groaned, splayed out on the ground next to Shadow, who merely chuckled softly. The ground felt like asphalt on a hot summer day, and it might have felt nice if the rest of the room wasn't sweltering, along with the hedgehog next to her radiating an insane amount of heat. 

She'd been spending time with Shadow for the past few days, trying to build up his endurance while also trying to seek out Tikal. The dark hedgehog had promised to keep a lookout for any spiritual disturbances, but there had been nothing so far. (Y/n) missed her guardian, and the respite from the harsh conditions the secondary realm offered. 

"I assume you prefer the cold," Shadow said after a few minutes of just laying there. 

"No offense, but yeah. Easier to just bundle up and control your temperature. Can't just fall out of my fur, here." She sighed, wiping at the sweat on her forehead. 

"How was...Sonic?" She turned her head towards him, but he kept his gaze trained on the ceiling. 

"Um...bitter. That's probably the best way to describe it. He didn't like being in chains, helpless, dead. But he got better. I think it was pretty hard for him to maintain control outside the secondary realm, so you're still impressive to me. That I can have pretty much a normal conversation with you. Minus, you know, the possession, and monsters, and ghosts, and extreme temperatures..." This drew the tiniest smile from Shadow and he finally glanced at her. "How are you feeling right now?"

"Drained, as always. a sense...better?" He shrugged with one shoulder. "I've fought enough inner battles in my life. I can deal with another force attempting to inhabit my dead body." 

"Is that...humor? From Shadow the Hedgehog?" He rolled his eyes and looked away. 

"I usually left the banter to Sonic." He closed his eyes and sucked in a breath, or at least attempted to. His hand drifted up to the collar around his neck. "Are you going back to him?" 

"I'll have to eventually, but I'm not done with you, yet. Plus there's Silver, and I should probably take a minute to track down Tikal..." (Y/n) sat up and rubbed her hands down her face. "Being a hero's hard. Not that I'm trying to be a hero, but I feel like I'm pretty much all the world has left." She turned to face him, resting her elbows on her knees. "Until I save you all, of course." Shadow pushed himself into a sitting position, studying her with half lidded eyes. 

"Of course. You're overheating again." She sighed and stood up, brushing herself off. 

"Do something nice for yourself," she said as she approached the door. "Be nice to yourself for once." 

"Hard when there's a very cynical ghost inhabiting you." 

"You must really miss Sonic." Shadow's mouth quirked upwards and he waved her off. She was closing the door behind her when she heard his last call.

"I'll try." 


"Join me, hon. Feels good." (Y/n) flopped onto the floor next to Rouge, closing her eyes against the blast of cold air from Omega's fans. 

"Oh," she groaned. "Yeah, that feels good." 

"You're relatively in one piece. Blaze came down and told me you didn't need her standing guard." 

"I trust Shadow."

"Really? That was fast." 

"I make a point of trying to trust people. See the best in them." 

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